The AFL Lines – Round 17

Filed in AFL, AFL Lines by on July 19, 2012

The Swans announced themselves as premiership contenders, the Blues look to be headed out the back door and the Tigers had their pants pulled down in Cairns for the second year in a row. The Round 16 landscape pales in comparison with the upcoming week though, with the top eight sides squaring off across four matches. Greg Oberscheidt and Cliff Bingham preview a bumper weekend of footy ahead.


Freo offered a few heart palpitations on Saturday (one again, thank you Ross Lyon – my life expectancy continues to decline as a result of betting matches your team is involved in), but thereafter it was a pretty comfortable set of covering bets for us last weekend. About bloody time too.


That helped the overall outlook. We’d be mad not to get them all right every week. This week is going to be pretty tough given there’s five ‘eight point games’ and some spud-on-spud action as well. Whilst it promises to be a great week for the spectator it could be perilous for the punter. I’m sure we’ll be able to find a bit of value though.


Results for Round 16 selections

GO – 4 selections, 5.5 units bet, return of 10.55 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = +92%

CB – 3 selections, 3.5 units bet, return of 6.70 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = +91%

Total – 7 selections, 9 units bet, return of 17.25 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = +92%

Results for 2012

GO – 57 selections, 68.5 units bet, return of 60.42 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -12%

CB – 36 selections, 36.5 units bet, return of 35.50 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -3%

Total – 93 selections, 105 units bet, return of 95.92 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -9%


(Please note – all times are EST)



Geelong v Essendon, Etihad Stadium, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:   Geelong +2.0 to +3.5


To say the Cats need a win here is an understatement. Whilst still nutting out the wins, they’ve been far from impressive and need the points to give the group a bit of a boost. Bartel out is a massive loss for them, he’s their grunt and drive in the big games and he’s impossible to replace. Hawkins needs to convert his opportunities if they’re any chance of a win.

The Dons are struggling with injuries to key players but they are still a very impressive unit. Gumbleton’s return was promising and he’ll hopefully fill the void left by Hurley. Crameri’s return from suspension is a massive boost as well. Watson is the key for the Bombers, if he can best the Cats’ ball winners, then they can make a big impression on their favoured ground.

I have a big lean towards the minus here but can’t back against the defending champs when the chips are down. No play.


Let’s put their 3-12 record against the spread in 2012 to one side for a moment. Of all the stats that tell the story of the Cat’s fall from the elite group in 2012, I think their record this season against teams with an 8-7 record or better speaks the loudest: one win (by two points over Hawthorn), six losses, average of 88 points scored and 105 conceded.

Meanwhile, Essendon’s record this season against teams with an 8-7 record or better is more palatable: three wins, three losses, average of 92 points scored and 90 conceded.

The Bombers also have a strong record at Etihad, winning 13 of 16 matches at the venue since the start of 2011, including a major upset over the Cats in 2011 to snap a six-game head-to-head losing streak.

All the numbers point to the Bombers, but with the injury list piling up, I don’t think either side is a particularly reliable conveyance – no play.



Collingwood v Hawthorn, MCG, 1.45pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Collingwood +0.5 to +3.5


Possibly a grand final preview. The Hawks have been in great form, systematically dismantling their opposition over the last five weeks. Granted they’ve played some lesser sides, but an average winning margin over that period of 80+ points speaks volumes about the balance of the side. Franklin will miss again and whilst they’d obviously love to have Buddy in, it does make them slightly less predictable in attack which could cause some headaches. With any luck, Harry O will go to Rioli again; Junior boy has smacked the Buddhist up in their last three encounters.

The Pies are a great side and with Tarrant returning forward, they have three quality tall forwards which could stretch the Hawks, medium sized defensive unit. Jolly is key, if he can dominate the stoppages then the Pies champion on-ball brigade could give the talls plenty of opportunities.

I think the Hawks will get the points here, they just seem to be tracking a bit better but it really is a flip of the coin so I’ll cool my jets.


Here’s what I like best about the Hawks right now; not only have they won nine of their last 10 games, but they’ve covered the spread on all nine of those occasions. Those nine wins have come with an average of 134 points scored and only 60 conceded, and included strong wins over St Kilda and Fremantle, as well as a complete dusting of North Melbourne.

Meanwhile, the Magpies may be 12-3, but last week represented their first cover of a spread since Round 10 against the Gold Coast (and only their fifth cover of the whole season). They are doing enough to win games (11 wins from their last 12, no less), but I think they arrive here a touch overrated.

The last four head-to-head clashes have been split two apiece, with Hawthorn getting the nod by 22 points at this ground in the opening round of the season.

It’s far from a lay down misere, but I feel like the Hawks are a touch undervalued here and will have one unit on the (almost non-existent) minus.


Adelaide v West Coast, AAMI Stadium, 2.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Adelaide -12.5 to -14.5


Another cracker! If the Crows can win this one then it’s hard to see them dropping out of the top four given their draw. Jacobs has a massive test against the twin towers in Natinui and Cox. If he has a big game he could almost sew up an All-Australian jumper. Cox will need to be forward plenty this week with the injury woes the Eagles have and Nic Nat will need to improve on his last effort to challenge ‘Sauce’ for four quarters.

The midfield battle is red hot and with Shuey missing through suspension I think the grunt and explosive nature of the Crows could be a bit too much for the Eagles. Thompson and Dangerfield could really cause some havoc.

The Eagles were soundly trounced at home last week and their confidence will be shot. They are looming as a likely casualty of the top four race given their injuries.

Adelaide by four goals in this one, and therefore I’ll have one unit on the minus.


Adelaide look to have shaken off a poor Round 13 performance against North Melbourne (a form line which looks much stronger in retrospect) and now control their own destiny with respect to both the top-four and the top-two. Much as with Mumford and Pyke last week, the Crows have the cattle (primarily Sam Jacobs) to legitimately compete against Cox and Naitanui in the ruck.

The Eagles were well off the pace last Sunday against Sydney; question marks are starting to arise over whether their mounting absentee list is starting to takes its toll. Moreover, their 2012 record away from Patersons is reasonable without setting the world on fire; a 4-3 record that is propped up in part by wins over the Bulldogs and Giants.

Head to head, the Crows have won two of the last three played at AAMI but the Eagles won each of the four matches prior to this; it’s not a road trip that hold any major stranglehold over West Coast.

Adelaide deserves favouritism at home and while I have the slightest of leans to taking the points, will sit this one out.


Gold Coast v Brisbane, Gabba, 4.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Gold Coast +22.5 to +24.5


Great win by the Suns last week. The Tigers left the door open and they walked straight through. It’ll be interesting to see how they respond this week after what would have been a massive emotional high.

The Lions have been impressive this year and will be desperate to assert some dominance over their little brothers. Jonno Brown will lead the charge up front and could have a day out against the less mature bodes of the Suns . Rich is a big out but the emergence of Zorko and the continuing form of Rockliff and Redden should be enough.

Plenty rides on the shoulders of Ablett as it always does and David Swallow will be better for the run.

At the Gabba I think the Lions will be far too strong and should win this one comfortably – one unit on the minus.


Gold Coast may have grabbed a win against the tide last week, but you could argue the same for the Lions against a superior opponent (West Coast) back in Round 10. The story here revolves around each team’s 2012 record against other teams in the bottom six:

Gold Coast: zero wins, four losses, average of 54 points scored and 99 conceded.

Brisbane: five wins (two interstate), zero losses, average of 120 points scored and 56 conceded.

The Suns may have won the inaugural match between these teams in 2011 but the Lions have responded with two beltings, each by in excess of 10 goals. They also have poor (albeit limited) form coming off a win, with the three previous occasions resulting in losses by 139, 57 and 54 points.

This match smacks of a reality check for the Gold Coast – 1.5 units on the Lions at the minus.


Western Bulldogs v Carlton, Etihad Stadium, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Western Bulldogs +17.5 to +19.5


So much has been made of the Judd incident that it’s not really worth getting into that. The bottom line is that he’s out and will be sorely missed. Gibbs will need to step up to fill the breach and the Blues’ faithful will be desperately hoping he can.

The Dogs were soundly beaten in all areas last week and their inability to hit the scoreboard remains a worry. Their midfield is their strength with Boyd and Griffen but they need some support from the rest of the group.

To say the Blues need this one is an understatement and they should get the job done but nothing I’ve seen in recent times inspires confidence. No play.


In boxing parlance, the Bulldogs look to have already received their ‘standing eight’ count for this season. Their last eight matches have resulted in wins over the Gold Coast and Port, accompanied by six losses with an average margin of 61 points. A quick glance at their run home suggests that a 5-17 finish to the season is a distinct possibility.

Carlton are going only a fraction the better – their inspired win over Collingwood a fortnight ago partially masks a run where their only other win since May 6 came against Melbourne. With Judd out and Murphy still short of match fitness, the Blues are far from across the line here.

The Bulldogs have won the last two matches between these teams at Etihad, including a 28-point win in the corresponding game last year.

Neither side feels like they are worthy of much in the way of trust at the moment, so I will happily let this game slide.


Melbourne v Port Adelaide, TIO Stadium, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:   Melbourne +7.0 to +8.5




You don’t want to waste time reading this match preview; I don’t want to waste time writing it. Let’s move on, shall we?



Sydney v St Kilda, SCG, 1.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Sydney -18.0 to -18.5


The Swans showed their premiership credentials with a massive win against the Eagles in the west. At home they should easily account for the Saints but I’ll stand by my previous statements. Beat it Sydney. Cliffo, you should load up…


Sydney have hit a rich vein of form since St Kilda defeated them by 28 points back in Round Nine at Etihad; they haven’t lost since. They look a substantially better team when Mumford is in the ruck and Goodes is offering a forward target (or at the very least, occupying a key defender).

St Kilda ground out a tough win up in Brisbane last week and on the back of a strong win the week prior against Essendon, appear to be hitting their straps. Nonetheless, they have only a 3-6 record against teams 12th or higher on the ladder, so they deserve to be underdogs for this one.

The last four games between these teams at the SCG have been split two apiece, while the Swans have won four of the last seven played in Sydney overall. Interestingly, six of the last 11 games between these teams (across all venues) have resulted in a winning margin of 15 points or less.

The recent form and home ground advantage both suggest taking the minus; the recent head-to-head record suggests taking the plus. I’ll skip this one.


Richmond v North Melbourne, MCG, 3.15pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Richmond +6.5 to +7.5


These two meet in an ‘eight point game’ as they both try to firm their positions for some September action. The Tigers blew themselves up last week and you can bet they’ve had a big week on the track. Dimma looked like he might have punched them all in the face after their poor showing last week. Martin returns from club suspension and will be keen to make amends. Maric should also be back and he’ll need to give them first use.

North are in great form and might have even proven Brad Scott’s assertions that their poor performances in the middle rounds were in fact aberrations. Wells is the real key for them with his run and drive and if Petrie can muster the same form he showed last week then this one could blow up early.

Whilst I fear the wounded Tiger to a degree, you have to see the value in the small line for the far superior form line of the Kangas and as such I’ll play a unit on the minus.


It seems an eternity ago that Richmond took down St Kilda and announced themselves as a legitimate finals contender. Since that time they’ve posted three losses (including one to the Gold Coast) and underwhelming victories over GWS and Melbourne. They only play one team (Essendon) with a record better than 8-7 in the run home, but they need to shape up right now if they want to see September action.

In contrast, North Melbourne have been terrific over the last four weeks, recording convincing wins over Adelaide, St Kilda and Carlton, as well as giving the Eagles an almighty scare down in Tasmania a fortnight ago. On recent form alone, they should be favoured by five goals in this match.

If there are two question marks on the game though, they are (a) the loss of Ziebell to suspension and question marks over the fitness of Adams and Petrie; and (b) the Kangaroos have been quite a rare visitor to the MCG in recent years, playing only eight matches there since 2009 and none so far this season.

The last five between these teams have resulted in two wins each plus a draw, but the last four matches at the MCG have led to three Kangaroo victories and the aforementioned draw.

Feels like a trap game to me – I’m really tempted to have a dip at North laying the small minus, but will let it go.


Fremantle v GWS, Patersons Stadium, 4.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Fremantle -75.5 to -78.5


GWS make the trip west after losing by almost 300 points in their last two starts. As the younger bodies get tired and the need for percentage in the finals race becomes greater, they could be set for a rough month.

Fremantle aren’t really the type of side to put teams to the sword but their percentage is easily the worst of the teams vying for a finals birth and they desperately need a 15-goal-plus win this week after letting the Dees hold them last start.

With the Giants likely to rest a few sore bodies this week I think a third straight 100-point loss is in the offing. Play one unit on the Dockers at the minus and while I’m on topic, you’d be mad not to have a splash at Pavlich to lead all goal kickers for the round at $3.50 or better.


Fremantle took their bloody time to get across the (three-goal minus) line last week; had it not been for Demon injuries early in the game, we might be revisiting assessments of their finals prospects right now. As it stands though, they remain in the mix, albeit that a percentage boost is desperately needed.

Fear not though, crossing the Nullarbor are the Giants….. they of an average 113-point losing margin over the past four games. You wonder whether Sheeds will try to keep whatever petrol remains in the tank for the Round 19-21 stretch (Port, at Gold Coast, Melbourne) where they’ll be looking to notch up a second win for the new club.

I’m not sure how many points the Dockers have in them (they’ve only broken 100 points twice all season, and only once since the opening round). I’m not sure what a 1-14 side with a percentage of 43 can realistically offer up after travelling across the country. I’m not sure that a bet here is something to be interested in.


Recommended bet summary


1 unit on Adelaide -12.5 at $1.80 (TAB Sportsbet)

1 unit on Brisbane -22.5 at $1.91 (Centrebet)

1 unit on North Melbourne -6.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

1 unit on Fremantle -75.5 at $1.90 (TAB Sportsbet)


1 unit on Hawthorn -0.5 at $1.92 (Flemington Sportsbet)

1.5 units on Brisbane -22.5 at $1.91 (Centrebet)


Thanks to Mark Nolan/Getty Images AsiaPac for use of the photo


Comments (2)

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  1. Cliff Bingham says:

    So…. the AFL website says this game is at Metricon, but The Age's Real Footy site (link below, as well as key details) say it's at the Gabba.

    If the preview above is wrong by virtue of incorrect information published by The Age, we sincerely apologise. I'm loading up on the Lions -22.5 irrespective.

    Home & Away, Saturday, 21 July 2012 – Round 17 – Gabba

    Gold Coast